Two of three Christian schools resolve Jeffco mask mandate lawsuit

Two of three Christian schools resolved a lawsuit with Jefferson County Public Health over their compliance with the county’s COVID-19 mask mandate Wednesday.

The cases against both Beth Eden Baptist School and Augustine Classical Academy were dismissed, court records show.

County health officials agreed to dismiss the case against Augustine Classical Academy after the school agreed to allow health inspectors to have access to its building.

Representatives for Beth Eden Baptist School did not immediately return requests for comment Wednesday and the details of that school’s resolution were not immediately clear.

District Judge Randall Arp signed off on Augustine’s agreement during the second day of a contentious court hearing in which Jefferson County Public Health sought a judge’s order to force the schools to follow mask mandates and allow health inspectors immediate access to classrooms.

The hearing will continue Thursday with the sole remaining defendant, Faith Christian Academy, as well as Golden View Classical Academy, which was allowed to intervene in the case.

Jefferson County Public Health sought the judge’s order last week after their health inspectors found the three schools were not following the county’s school mask mandate in their facilities. The schools objected, saying both that they were following the county’s guidance and that the county’s public health order was unconstitutional.

Arp said Wednesday that he expects testimony and argument in the case to finish by mid-day Thursday, and said the earliest he would decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against Faith Christian Academy would be Thursday afternoon. He added that between 250 and 300 people have watched the hearing online at various times this week.

Representatives for Augustine Classical Academy and Jefferson County Public Health did not immediately return requests for comment Wednesday.

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